What is a webinar and how to create a good one?
Over the past few years, there has been a noticeable growth in the use of webinars to reach out and engage the right kind of audience. One of the recent surveys conducted in a content marketing study found that more than 50% of B2B marketers use webinars in their content marketing strategy.
In an environment that thrives on instant gratification, consumers are looking for instant information and knowledge. As a small business owner, it becomes your responsibility to promote your offerings effectively so that they can reach your target market faster. Webinars come in real handy when it comes to demonstrating the products and your expertise in the field to the prospective customers.
A webinar brings about a certain clarity about the offerings you are extending, inciting a faith in the brand.
Let’s first start with the webinar definition before getting into the types and elements of a webinar.
What is a webinar?
A webinar is essentially a term coined with the coming together of web and seminar. It is a web-based video conference that runs live and uses internet to connect the webinar hosts with the audience from all over the world.
Types of a webinar
This may come as a mild surprise for you that there are different types of webinars you can host for your audience. The type of webinar you choose to go with, depends on the way you format your platform and the purpose of the webinar.
1) Educational Webinar
An educational webinar is typically modeled after the structure of a lecture. This is the most popular type of webinar, simply because of the ease of setting it up and hosting. The purpose of the webinar is to educate the audience about a certain subject.
This kind of a webinar lets you showcase your expertise and knowledge in the subject increasing the audience’s confidence in you and may even convince them to convert into paid customers. This kind of webinars affords the maximum flexibility as you can invite a group of people or even do it all by yourself.
2) Audience Driven – Q&A
These webinars are interactive in nature which means that the webinar would be driven generally by the queries received from the audiences. Content wise, these webinars are a lot simpler and require only a little preparation beforehand to make sure that you are prepared with the answers the questions related to the topic that the audience may ask. Through an audience driven Q&A type webinar you can educate your audience on the topics of interest and clarify any queries they may have about it. This makes the audience confident that the expert at the other end is knowledgeable and can offer expert advice.
The one downside here is that there isn’t much of an opportunity to promote your products or services.
It is a good idea to gain some experience hosting multiple webinars of the educational type before you attempt the Q&A type so that you know how to keep the audience engaged.
3) Panelist Discussion
A panelist discussion webinar is where you have a group of panelists get together to discuss a certain topic that is decided beforehand. In this type of webinar, the moderator generally drives the discussion and the panelists are there to simply present the ideas they have about the one topic.
In this type of webinar, the audience can gain insights into the chosen field from the expertise of established influencers. One big advantage here is that you can leverage the popularity of the established influencers in increasing the number of signups.
A workshop style webinar takes advantage of screen sharing with panelists. This means you can guide the audiences in a step-by-step manner on what needs to be done. In this webinar style you can either share your own screen or show them a PowerPoint presentation so that they can follow you each step of the way.
This is slightly different in its intent. This is conducted with the intent to hold a meeting with different groups of people in different geographical areas. Companies may have a good number of people working from remote locations or have offices in different locations. Webinar tools can be used to hold internal web conference calls for meetings. In the meeting style webinars, those who are not involved directly in the webinar can simply sit back and listen in. In terms of preparation you would need to gather outline questions on the topic area.
Elements of a webinar
Not every video you watch online is a webinar. There are certain elements, seven to be exact, that make it what it is – a live webinar.
#1 A live event
Quite like any other live event you may have ever attended; a webinar has a fixed time and date. However, it may be a good idea to make the entire webinar video available on-demand for the registrants so that they can watch it later at leisure.
Once the webinar is over, you can send the link to the registrants or your customers who missed out on the event.
#2 Online attendees
You cannot have a concert without any attendees, similarly webinar is also a live event which has no meaning if there are no attendees. Though your webinars can be viewed later on demand and you do not need a massive audience, but you do need some.
Sadly, about 66% of the webinars have less than 50 live attendees. You can explore different timings and days to figure out which one works out the best for you.
#3 Interaction & Participation
A webinar will always have a way for the attendees to interact during the event. The interaction can take any form based on the kind of webinar tools or software you are using. Every webinar has time set aside for Q&A in one form or another. Some of the webinars have live chats for this purpose. This chat feature can be private where only the host can see the questions or live where all the attendees can see all the questions and respond to each other while the host is conducting the webinar.
Webinars with polls or surveys are also interesting and promote interaction among the attendees. Here, the host will have a set of predetermined questions and the attendees will be given a limited time to answer them. The results are immediately shared on the screen. It is important that you have only multiple-choice answers, particularly if you want to put up immediate results.
When you make the webinar interactive, you are sending a message to the on-demand viewers that they missed out on a great interactive session where they could have asked and received answers for their questions in real time.
#4 Video Streaming of a Speaker
In a webinar, there would be a speaker to educate the attendees on the topic of the webinar. Since it is a webinar, the speaker would be accomplishing their task through a live video stream. There are times when you can see the speaker or speakers in t live webinar, while at other times it is a combination of the speaker on the screen and his PowerPoint slides, but there will be a video that will help you go through the topic and retain what is being talked about.
Webinars, especially the educational kinds would definitely have a few slides to illustrate the point of the webinar. The energy or charisma of a face to face event may be diminished wen it comes to a virtual meeting or a webinar. Having a great set of slides can make up for it and keep the attendees engaged. Slides keep you focused on the event instead of cat videos or other chitchat with colleagues.
It is obvious that along with the visual elements in a webinar, people want to listen to what is being said. Just a bunch of slides moving from one to the other is not enough. The webinar hosts, in addition to a good camera, also need a microphone. Though some people use their computer’s in-built microphone, but if you are invested in holding webinars regularly, you must go for a good quality microphone.
#7 Webinar Software
To bring together all these elements you need a webinar software. The webinar software is essentially the thread that ties all these elements together. This lets you hold an interactive event with attendees from all over the world. The best part is that even the companies that have small budgets can host webinars using free webinar software available easily.
The capabilities of a webinar software vary and not everyone needs all the features. Typically, a webinar platform will have the following features:
- Screen sharing
- Surveys & polls
- Live chat
- Q&A tools
- Streaming Ability
- Multiple speakers
- Calendar notifications
- Sending out invitations
- Pre-recorded sound options
- Registration reminders
How to create a webinar?
Creating a webinar is a creative process and in this process, you would be essentially the foundation where your webinar strategy is formed. Make sure that you create a strong foundation for the webinar strategy to stand upon.
1. Define business goals
Before you start out, it is important that you have asked yourself why you are doing this. Do not do this just because it is something everyone is doing. Spare a thought towards what you want to achieve with your webinar eventually.
Are you trying to get new customers?
Are you trying to increase traffic to your site?
The basic intent should have a positive impact on your company’s bottom line whether it is through new customers or repeat purchases.
2. Webinar purpose
The people you are inviting for your webinar may be getting multiple invites every week. I get around 14 a week, sometimes more.
When you are inviting attendees to your webinar, what is it that you are offering to them in exchange of their time.
This means if you are planning to keep your attendees occupied for 45 minutes, make sure that the value you are offering them is worth all that time. If you fail to do this, you are not going to see them again.
The webinar purpose is essentially your mission statement. Draw attention to the primary benefit that only you can provide. After you have defined this mission statement, it is important that you share it on the webinar landing pages and other marketing material.
You can also measure how well your webinar is doing with the audience with the help of te following metrics:
- Number of registrants
- Number of registrants who turn into live attendees
- Number of times your webinar is watched on-demand
- Increase in the number of registrants
- Number of people who are coming back to attend more webinars
- Drop-off rate
- Interaction during webinar
- Feedback in the post-event survey
If the purpose of your webinar is too vague or generic, then the content too will be quite generic. People are not interested in generic content. After determining the exact value that you are going to deliver, then you should work on developing the theme.
3. Choose the theme & topic
The theme and topic of the webinar is especially important because if the value you are promising is not aligned with the theme of your webinar and the topics you cover, it is only going to disappoint your attendees.
The theme that you choose must be chosen keeping the customers or attendees in mind. It can’t be just something you would like to talk about, it should be something they want to hear about. Talk to the audience and get their feedback and opinion over what you should talk about in the webinar.
How a webinar works?
If you have never attended a webinar then it is natural to be curious about how it all works. Let’s walk you through the entire process step-by-step.
The process begins when the prospect receives an invitation to register for a webinar, this could be an email or in some other way be directed to the webinar landing page. Here, the prospect will fill in the required details and then be redirected to an acknowledgement or a thank you page which means that they have been converted to a registrant.
ii) Confirmation email
Once the details have all been filled in, an email is sent to the registrant with all the details of the live webinar along with a link to register for it. This email may need the registrant to download a software to be able to attend the webinar and may also let them add the event to your calendar. The email may also give detailed instructions (if needed) for attending the webinar.
iii) Technical requirements
The attendees should receive a reminder email for the webinar on the day of, or one day before the event. This email should prepare the registrants if they need to download any software and help them check the ability of their computer to let them attend the webinar and enjoy the experience.
iv) Email reminder
Send out an email reminder including the webinar link on the day of, or one day before the webinar is scheduled to happen.
v) Join live webinar
All that is left now is for the registrants to use the webinar link and join the event and for you to start hosting it.
A webinar presents you with the possibility to connect with the entire world from a simple platform. Not only does it lend you a professional credibility, but also lets you establish your organization as an expert in the industry.
Did you know that Appy Pie hosts multiple webinars? Time to go and pick the one you want. Register now!
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